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Combine breath-taking vistas and beaches.

Bulgaria offers a mixture of spectacular mountain ranges and golden beaches stretching along the Black Sea coastline. There is an array of beach and ski resorts to keep you entertained, with Bulgaria cited as a great value ski destination. The nightlife throughout Bulgaria is also renowned for being lively.

Bulgaria offers a fantastic combination of sun, sea, sand and culture. There are plenty of walks to indulge in and allow you to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of this diverse country.

Bulgaria Tourist Board: The official website for the Bulgarian National Tourist Office, a useful resource for planning your trip to Bulgaria.

Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Bulgaria from the FCO.

Things to see and do

  • Seek out some of Bulgaria's festivals which are an important part of Bulgarian rural life. Bulgaria is rich in the folklore traditions of folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals.
  • Hit the slopes at the major ski resorts of Bansko, Borovets, or Pamporovo.
  • Enjoy the mountainous scenery of the Rila Mountains.
  • Visit the city of Sofia- it is a modern and lively capital with over 300 bars, restaurants, discos, and cafes.
  • Enjoy sun, sea and sand at one of the Black Sea coastal resorts which include Sunny Beach and Golden Sands.
  • Go on a mountaineering or climbing trip which can be arranged in the areas of Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo, Trojan, Maliovitza and Roussenski Lom. There are plenty of caves and rock formations and ancient cave paintings to explore.
  • Go horse riding in the Danube Valley, the Balkan, Rila and Stara Planina Mountains and the Valley of Roses.
  • Try Mountain biking in the Rhodopi Mountains, there are some good trails and scenery here.
  • Visit the ancient Bailusheva pine forests, limestone rocks in Pirin National Park, the seven lakes and the 10th century monastery in Rila National Park.

Festivals and events

  • Saint Dimitri’s Day commemorates the beginning of winter. He is the patron saint of winter, frost and snow. (October)
  • Golden Chest International Television Festival celebrates the best of international television held in Plovdiv. (October-November)
  • Saint Barbara’s Day is an event to celebrate Saint Barbara who protects children from disease. (December)

Tipping etiquette

Tipping is a regular occurrence in Bulgaria in appreciation of good service and is more common in the larger resorts, such as Varna. Staff get paid minimum wage in bars and restaurants so they rely on tips to make up the rest of their salary. Service charge is not usually included in the bill.

A 10% tip is acceptable for good service and more if it is excellent service. It is rude not to tip. Even if you received bad service the tip should not be less than 5% as the waiter / waitress relies on the tips.

Tipping in a taxi is common but less generous than restaurants; it is acceptable to tip 10% of the fare or more if they help carry bags etc. Tipping hotel staff and staff in the tourism industry i.e. travel guides/a rep, is acceptable, as their wages are low and they live off the tips which subsidise their pay.

Do not give small change as this is seen as an insult.

Time difference

GMT +2